Interstellar pilot Priscilla 'Hutch' Hutchins has seen a lot of action. But now, multi award-winning science-fiction master Jack McDevitt gives us the thrilling, edge-of-your-seat tale of how it all began ...Hutch has finally realised her dream: she's completed a nerve-bending qualification flight for a pilot's licence. Her timing is far from optimal, however. Faster-than-light travel has only recently become a reality and the World Space Authority is still learning how to manage long-range missions safely. To make matters worse, efforts to prepare two planets for colonization are killing off native life forms, outraging people on Earth. So interstellar pilots are not exactly in demand. Although Hutch fears her career may be over before it has begun, her ambition won't be denied and soon she is on the bridge of an interstellar ship, working for the corporation that is responsible for the terraforming. Her working conditions include bomb threats, sabotage, clashes with her employers ...and a mission to a world adrift between the stars which harbours a life form unlike anything humanity has ever seen. Ultimately, she will be part of a life and death struggle which will test not just her capabilities, but also her character.